The 2013 Normal CornBelters season has officially begun! Despite dealing with “Mother Nature” at times, we have played all 22 regular-season games scheduled to date, boast a 15-7 record and are averaging just under 2,300 fans per-game at The Corn Crib. Through the first month of our season, a few things are very apparent…
For starters, I think it is safe to say our 29-67 record from last season is a distant memory! Although we do have a lot of baseball yet to be played this season, we currently sit atop the Frontier League West Division by a half-game over the Gateway Grizzlies. Even more impressive, we are 10-3 at home! Outfielder Romulo Ruiz leads the league with 20 RBI, and shortstop Pat McKenna is tied for the league-lead in home runs with five. Led by McKenna’s .341 batting average, our team average is .247 (eighth in the Frontier League). Led by right-handed relief pitcher Alan Oaks’ 0.58 ERA, our team ERA is 3.05 (third in the Frontier League). It is clear our new coaching staff, along with a talented cast of players, have turned things around on the field!
Besides the team’s fantastic start, it is also evident we have some of the best fans in the Frontier League! Although the wet weather has forced us to postpone a game (Saturday, May 25), and suspend a game (Saturday, June 1), we have sold over 27,000 tickets for our 12 openings this season (seventh in the Frontier League). Thanks to the backing of our package ticket holders, we have already far exceeded our full season ticket goal, will soon surpass our mini-plan package goal and expect to achieve our group outing goal before the season comes to an end. Based on the incredible support we have received so far, it is obvious The Corn Crib is the place to be in Bloomington-Normal this summer!
Our current home stand continues tonight at 7 p.m., as we take on the Washington Wild Things in the second game of a three-game series at The Corn Crib. It is “Dog Night / Meijer Wednesday / Web Wednesday.” Gates open at 6 p.m., parking is just $2 per-car and tickets start at only $5 each! If you cannot make it out to the ballpark tonight, please check out our entire remaining schedule at: http://www.normalbaseball.com/schedule/.
To purchase tickets, simply visit the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office at The Corn Crib, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. / Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.). You can also purchase tickets on-line anytime at: https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?SponsorID=4098#.UbjDC_lQFid.
Normal CornBelters Professional Baseball Team
The 2013 season unofficially began last Thursday, May 9 with our “Education Day” exhibition game. Despite the wet weather, we defeated the Joliet Slammers 5-0 in front of over 3,300 fans at The Corn Crib! While we open the regular season on the road this Friday in Evansville, IN, we will play our first regular season home game at the ballpark on Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m. against the Windy City ThunderBolts (“CEFCU Opening Night”). Our opening home stand runs from May 21 through Sunday, May 26. Please visit http://www.normalbaseball.com for game times, tickets and upcoming promotions.
In my last post, I mentioned what a busy off-season it has been for us, and the “change is good!” mentality we have adopted for this season. Since then, we have continued adjusting our roster, and we have made yet another NEW announcement! That is, our corporate partnership with Miller Brewing Company and Ra-Jac Distributing Company. As a result of that partnership, we have added the “Leinenkugel Lodge” and “Miller Lite Lounge” to The Corn Crib! The “Leinenkugel Lodge” is located on the first-base side of the concourse behind section 102, and it will be available to all fans 21 and older. The “Miller Lite Lounge” is located in luxury suite #211 (formerly the “President’s Suite”), and it will be available for all corporate partners, full season ticket holders and host families 21 and older. Some of the Miller Brewing Company products to be offered at the ballpark this season include: Miller Lite, Miller High Life, Third Shift, Redd’s Apple Ale, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat, Leinenkugel Canoe Paddler, Leinenkugel Berry Weiss and Heineken. Plus, all nine “Miller Thirst Quenching Thursdays” will feature $1 Miller High Life drafts! We are confident our fans will notice all of the changes we have made for this season. More importantly, we are confident they will benefit from those changes!
Whenever I get excited about all the new aspects of CornBelters baseball this season, I am also reminded of our original mission statement:
It is our mission to be the number one summer sports entertainment choice in Illinois. We will achieve this by building trust with our fans and partners, providing professional baseball, superb customer service and a fun and affordable experience every time they come to the ballpark.
Over the past three seasons, we have come a long way by consistently keeping this statement in mind. Although we have adopted a “change is good!” mentality for this season, some aspects of CornBelters baseball will never change! This season we will continue to build upon the fantastic relationships with our fans and partners, our team will be more competitive in the Frontier League and we will once again provide outstanding customer service, FUN and affordability. I assure you we will not rest until it is clear to all we are the number one summer sports entertainment choice in Illinois.
If you have yet to secure your tickets for our opening home stand, please do so TODAY. They start at only $5 each! Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office, or by phone at (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours. They can also be purchased online anytime by visiting http://www.normalbaseball.com. I look forward to seeing you at The Corn Crib soon!
The Normal Cornbelters had an exhibition day yesterday for Education Day at the Corn Crib. Children from all over Central Illinois came to the ball park where they had the chance to meet & greet Corny and players, play in the McDonald’s/Little Jewels Family Fun Zone, explore at the Children’s Discovery Museum activity station, complete ‘Belters Brainball educational worksheets and visit the petting zoo!
You can always tell “CEFCU Opening Night” (Tuesday, May 21) is getting closer and closer when the Heartland Community College baseball and softball teams start utilizing The Corn Crib again, and we put our individual game tickets on sale to the general public (Saturday, March 30).
We’ve had a very busy off-season to date. Our internal motto has been “change is good!” Immediately following the 2012 season, we secured a new coaching staff! That staff’s led by NEW field manager Brooks Carey, who served as our pitching coach in 2010 and 2011. We also began re-signing players from last season and adding NEW players! Tyler Lavinge, Pat McKenna and Steven Felix are a few of the returning fan favorites, while Jose Trinidad, Romulo Ruiz and Matt Wright are some of the new faces looking to make an impression. In addition, we announced NEW home jerseys, road jerseys and hats. You can check them out at: http://www.normalbaseball.com/news/229-normal-cornbelters-unveil-new-threads/. Busy, busy, busy. Yet, we’re not done with NEW announcements just yet…
While we realize “change is good,” we also realize our fans have come to love some of the more established aspects of CornBelters baseball. That’s reflected in our weekly promotions for the upcoming season. Tuesday home games will continue to feature kids running the bases following the games, fans are still encouraged to bring their dogs with them to the ballpark for every Wednesday home game, “Thirst Quenching Thursdays” are not going anywhere and Sunday home games will again be highlighted by post-game autograph sessions on the field with the team. Plus, by very popular demand, we’ve brought back “CEFCU Fireworks Fridays!” Feel free to view all of our upcoming promotions, starting in May, at: http://www.normalbaseball.com/upcoming-promotions/?month=5&year=2013&m=#markerdown.
Another aspect of CornBelters baseball our fans have fallen in love with is the affordability of our tickets. Somehow, we’ve found ways to make them even more affordable and beneficial! Full season tickets, mini-plan packages and group outings are available now. Fans can become package ticket holders for as little as $30 per-seat! Also, beginning March 30, individual game tickets will go on sale for as little as $5.00 per-ticket! Plus, although fans are still more than welcome to sit in the lawn, we’re no longer offering Lawn Seats. As a result, for the same low price, every fan receives a FREE upgrade to Reserved Bleachers with Backs! To secure your tickets for the upcoming season, simply stop by the Mid-Illini Credit Union Box Office, or call (309) 454-2255 (BALL), during normal business hours. You can also purchase tickets on-line anytime at: https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/team.asp?SponsorID=4098.
If you have the chance, please visit us on March 30 beginning at 10 a.m. Not only do our individual game tickets go on sale, but we’ll also be having a merchandise sidewalk sale (featuring unreal discounts!) and hosting the Town of Normal Easter Egg Hunt (over 2,500 people attended last year!). There’s no better way to make sure you’re prepared for the quickly approaching season!
The Normal CornBelters have had an action-packed season, hosting 43 regular season games so far, as well as the 2012 State Farm Frontier League Home Run Derby and All-Star Game in July. With only four games left at the Corn Crib, be sure to not miss out on any of the remaining fun!
Thursday, August 30: Start off your weekend early with Thirst Quenching Thursday and take advantage of $1 select draft beers and $1 Beer Nuts Peanuts and Bar Mix all night long! Stop by the Budweiser Beer Tent for these great deals and maybe even sneak in a couple games of bags before the game kicks off at 6:30pm against the Florence Freedom!
Friday, August 31: The night will start and end with a bang on CEFCU Fantastic Friday! The CornBelters will be starting their final three-game series at 6:30pm against the Rockford RiverHawks! Bid on your favorite player’s yellow jersey for the CEFCU silent auction benefiting Easter Seals and immediately following the game there will be a fireworks display for all to enjoy!
Saturday, September 1: Reggy the Purple Party Dude will be getting himself in and out of trouble throughout the final State Farm Super Saturday! The game starts at 6:30pm against the Rockford RiverHawks. Saturday is also Cheer and Dance Night at the Corn Crib. During the day, there will be a clinic for all participating squads put on by the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders. Some of the best squads will perform and the St. Louis Rams Cheerleaders will be signing autographs during the game! You will have a chance to bid on your favorite player’s away jersey during a silent auction, taking place throughout the game.
Sunday, September 2: Make sure to join us for the Greatest Night of Baseball Ever! The game kicks off at 5:00pm against the Rockford RiverHawks and in appreciation of all our amazing fans we will be giving away special prizes throughout the night, including an Infinity Print Group 2012 Team Photo. Also, there will be a silent auction throughout the game where you will be able to bid on your favorite player’s home jersey! Stop by the Impressive Home Theatres table on the concourse and stick around after the game for Hits 100.7 post-game autographs from all the players. For Sunday’s game, make sure to take advantage of the final Frontier Family 4 Pack — 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas, and 4 Box Seats for just $40! Please call or stop by the Box Office to purchase the Frontier Family 4 Pack.
For more information, simply contact the CornBelters at (309) 454-2255 (BALL), visit their website (http://www.normalbaseball.com) or stop by the Corn Crib administrative office during normal business hours. Get social with the CornBelters at www.facebook.com/CornBelters and www.twitter.com/Normal_Baseball.
Public/Media/Community Relations Coordinator
Last week was an exciting week at the Corn Crib! The Normal CornBelters, presented by the Illinois Corn Farmers, hosted the 2012 State Farm Frontier League Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game on July 10 and 11.
The Home Run Derby took place on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:30pm. Before the bats started swinging, the All-Star players from the Western and Eastern Divisions made special appearances to Advocate BroMenn Medical Center: Adult Day Services and the Boys and Girls Club of McLean County. While at the medical center, the players from the Eastern Division got to talk about all things baseball and had the chance to share stories with their elders while hearing a few as well. Over at the Boys and Girls Club, players from the Western Division had the chance to hang out with those on the other side of the age spectrum. Kids aged 5-13 were able to play sports with professional baseball players. The All-Stars played whiffle ball, mat ball, basketball, air hockey and more with over 60 kids from the club.
In the afternoon, the All-Stars, sponsors, fans and staff participated in an All-Star Luncheon presented by the Bloomington/Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau at the Marriott in Normal. Keynote speaker Mike Veeck was the special guest during the event. Veeck is the son of the famous Bill Veeck, Hall of Famer and owner of several major league baseball teams.
The Corn Crib opened early the night of the derby so fans of all ages could go down onto the field and get autographs from their favorite All-Star players, which was presented by Wilber. Reggy the Purple Party Dude, presented by the Illinois Corn Growers, made a special appearance to the ballpark and provided hilarious entertainment for the crowd throughout the derby. The CornBelters very own Pat Trettel competed in the Derby, but Russell Moldenhauer from the Lake Erie Crushers took first place with 12 home runs total. The night ended with a fantastic fireworks show presented by Illinois Lottery.
On Wednesday, July 11, the Corn Crib hosted the State Farm Frontier League All-Star Game. Players, staff and sponsors from the Frontier League were invited to a relaxing day at Fox and Hounds Day Spa or to play a round of golf at Ironwood Golf Course before the big game took place. The game kicked off at 6:30pm as the Western and Eastern Divisions battled it out for the number one spot. Reggy the Purple Party Dude, presented by Illinois Corn Growers, was back to provide more crazy entertainment throughout the game. The East took the victory over the West, outscoring them 9-6. The London Rippers’ Joash Brodin was honored with the game’s Most Valuable Player Award, going 4-5 with a home run and three runs scored. Frontier Communications presented fireworks immediately following the game and the fun kept rolling with a Post-Game Party presented by Mid Illini Credit Union. Special guests, Brushfire, were the musical entertainment for the after-party as they provided their unique mix of country and upbeat rock music.
Country sensation Dierks Bentley entertained a crowd of over 5,000 at the ballpark despite a little rain, as he headlined a concert on July 14. Along with 107.7 The Bull and S.A.W. Entertainment events, the CornBelters were able to bring this first ever stand-alone concert to the Corn Crib. The concert also featured Josh Thompson and John Pardi as the opening performances.
“We feel that the Corn Crib is the best concert venue in Central Illinois,” said team President Steve Malliet. “We learned a lot from this event and look forward to hosting many more concerts in the future.”
From June 11 through June 16, The Normal CornBelters, brought to you by the Illinois Corn Farmers, celebrated Ag Week at the Corn Crib. Each day had a special event offering fans of all ages the opportunity to enjoy great tasting food and to learn all about agriculture in their community.
June 11 was Illinois Corn Growers Association Membership Appreciation Night. Illinois Corn Growers Members were invited to come out to the ballpark to watch some exciting Cornbelters baseball courtesy of the Illinois Corn Growers Association! Fans also had the opportunity to mingle with real farmers who grow corn in Illinois.
June 12 was Illinois Pork Producers Night, where fans were invited to dive into some freshly made pork 3-ways burgers. All over the concourse, you could see fans enjoying DaBurgers and to talking to hog farmers about all things pork!
June 13 took on another meat product, beef! For Illinois Beef Producers Night, farmers who raise cattle were at the ballpark to answer questions and to serve local beef products. After trying one of their tasty samples courtesy of Bloomington Meats, fans couldn’t help but to get one of their burgers!
June 14 was Prairie Farms Night! Prairie Farms gave away free ice cream sandwich bars to the first 500 fans that entered the Corn Crib. They also made the night extremely special for two lucky fans. One got to throw out a first pitch and receive an autographed Ron Santo ball and another won a game worn Cubs Jersey! The Midwest Dairy Association was also in attendance with fun trivia and even taught kids how to milk a cow! Once again, farmers were there to share their philosophy, this time about dairy farms.
June 15 was Salute to 4H Night as well as Pioneer Night. Members from 4H in the area came to the ballpark to offer information about their group to fans who were interested in getting involved! It was also Pioneer Night. Employees of Pioneer were invited to watch a night of CornBelters baseball and 500 lucky fans walked away with a Pioneer/ Illinois Corn baseball!
Public/Media/Community Relations Coordinator
The Normal CornBelters, brought to you by Illinois Corn Farmers, are bring agriculture to the citizens of central Illinois next week through a series of special events at the CornCrib. It’s going to be an exciting week of good food, good conversation, and educational opportunities that you and your family won’t want to miss.
June 11 is Illinois Corn Growers Association Membership Appreciation night. While many Central Illinois citizens aren’t likely members of Illinois Corn, this will be a great opportunity to meet a real farmer growing corn in Illinois. (And by the way, these corn farmers are growing field corn, not sweet corn that you eat on your table. Learn this and more when you chat with them Monday night!)
June 12 is Illinois Pork Producers night. Would you like to chat with a hog farmer about how he’s raising your pork chops? Would you like to enjoy a yummy pork burger at the ball field? June 12 is your night!
June 13 is Illinois Beef Producers night. Again – farmers raising cattle will be there to answer your questions about their farming practices. Local beef will be served. You won’t want to miss it.
June 14 is Prairie Farms night! Prairie Farms will be giving free ice cream bars to the first 500 fans arriving at the stadium and they will be able to share their philosophies on dairing in Illinois. Did you know that Prairie Farms is a cooperative of over 700 families that raise dairy cattle and produce milk throughout the midwest?
June 15 is Salute to 4H night. Are you interested in 4H for your kids? Don’t even know what it’s all about? Come and find out more from people who are actually involved on June 15 at the CornCrib!
Communication and connection with the non-farm public is a priority for Illinois agriculture. Come and experience it next week at the CornCrib!
Minor league baseball is traditionally known for wacky, off-the-wall, outrageous promotions and events. In the case of the Normal CornBelters, this still holds true. This season you can expect to see Reggy the Purple Party Dude (the who?), sumo wrestling, giant ears of corn running, and of course phenomenal baseball. At the same time, the team is going a little “old school” this season in terms of marketing and creatively inviting fans to the ballpark.
The 2012 season is the beginning of the “CornBelters Community Crew” which is often called the “Street Team” as well. This team is led by Denny Mohrman, long-time CornBelters fan and former usher. Denny oversees the team on a daily basis and takes the crew out to various community events to spread awareness of the CornBelters and upcoming games and events.
This past weekend, the Crew attended Heyworth HeyDays and Ride for the Cure at the Avanti’s Dome in Pekin. Be on the lookout for this crew because they will have special giveaways with them at all times! They most recently had vouchers to upcoming CornBelters games, so be sure to follow the team on Facebook (facebook.com/CornBelters) and Twitter (twitter.com/Normal_Baseball) in order to get awesome prizes from the Crew!
Public/Media/Community Relations Coordinator